Today I finished cramming everything I had in Temple (minus a bookshelf and desk) into my car and drove 3 hours north-east to The Middle of Nowhere, Texas. I'm not sure if I'm in Garden Valley or Lindale, but either way it's a tiny town close to Tyler, where the Mercy Ships International Operations Center (IOC) is located. I'll be here all week for the Foundations of Mercy Ships program (FMS). I feel like I'm at summer camp or a retreat - the IOC is on a large piece of land with a warehouse where medical supplies are collected, HR buildings, a dining room, dorms, pool, cafe, meeting rooms, gym, cabins, and I don't know what all else. Oh, and they raise livestock here too, so there are pastures with different animals. Lots of trees, with walking trails all over the place. And wild hogs. They warned us about the hogs.
This week will be spent in classes and seminars and meetings, learning more about the history and mission of Mercy Ships and things to expect when I join the ship, getting to know HR people and other volunteers and hopefully getting some much-needed rest. It's a treat to have a normal schedule, if only for one week, where I have somewhere to be at the same time every morning and the option of going to bed early at night. And to have some time to just sit and think, read my Bible, pray, and crack open my neglected journal. Maybe take a few walks. Hopefully not run into any angry wild hogs. ;-)
In one week from now I'll be in Africa. It doesn't seem quite real. Hasn't sunk in yet. Your prayers are much appreciated, my friends.